How to Write an Outline: A Guide to Organizing Your Information to Write a Research Paper
This article provides a definition of an outline and its purpose, which is to serve as a general plan for the material that will be presented
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Slide1How to Write an OutlineA guide to organizing your information to write a research paper
Slide2What is an Outline?• An outline is a general plan of the material that is to be presented in a speech or a paper. The outline shows the order of the various topics , the relative importance of each , and the relationship between the various parts .
Slide3Ordering Your Outline• There are many ways to arrange the different parts of a subject. – chronological – spatial – from general to specific (the most common) ** This means you begin with a general idea and then support it with specific examples.
Slide4The Importance of the ThesisStatement • All outlines should begin with a thesis statement. • This thesis sentence presents the central idea of the paper . • It must always be a complete, grammatical sentence , specific and brief , which expresses the point of view you are taking towards the subject.
Slide5Types of Outlines• There are two main types of outlines – Sentence Outlines – Topic Outlines • For the purposes of this research paper we are going to focus on Sentence Outlines. – In the sentence outline, all the headings are expressed in complete sentences. – Sentence outlines make it very easy to then construct your research paper .
Slide6Rules for Outlining1. Subdivide topics by a system of numbers and letters, followed by a period. • Example: • I. • A. • B. • 1. • 2. • a. • b. • II. • A. • B. • 2. Each heading and subheading must have at least two parts. • 3. Headings for parts of the paper or speech such as, Introduction and Conclusion, should not be used. • 4. Be consistent. Do not mix up the two types of outlines. Use either whole sentences of brief phrases, but not both.
Slide7Example Sentence Outline• Sentence Outline • Choices in College and After • Thesis: The decisions I have to make in choosing college courses, depend on larger questions I am beginning to ask myself about my life’s work. I. I have two decisions to make with respect to choosing college courses in the immediate future. A. One is whether to elect a course in art history or in chemistry. • 1. One time in my life, I planned to be a chemical engineer professionally. • 2. On the other hand, I enjoy art and plan to travel and see more of it. B. The second decision is whether to continue a third year of French beyond the basic college requirement. 1. French might be useful both in engineering and travel. 2. Furthermore, I am eager to read good books which are written in French. 3. How necessary are these considerations in the light of other courses I might take instead? II. My problem can be put in the form of a dilemma involving larger questions about my whole future. A. On the one hand I want to hold a highly-trained position in a lucrative profession. B. On the other hand I want to lead a certain kind of life, with capacities for values not connected with the making of money. III. I will have to make a decision balancing the conflicting needs I have described. A. I will hold open the professional possibilities by electing chemistry. B. I will improve and solidify what cultural proficiency in another language I have already gained, by electing French.